Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita chef overwhelmed by demand for Instant Pot cooking classes

Instant Pots: Everyone got one for Christmas, and now everyone wants to know how to use them.
Instant Pots: Everyone got one for Christmas, and now everyone wants to know how to use them. File photo

When Natasha Gandhi-Rue decided to add cooking classes to her menu of offerings at The Kitchen, her year-old restaurant at 725 E. Douglas, she assumed that people would be getting Instant Pot pressure cookers for Christmas and that they might like to know how to operate them.

When she opened up enrollment for her classes shortly after the new year, she realized just how right-on her assumption had been.

Her first Instant Pot class sold out in a matter of hours. So she added a second, which sold out in a couple of days.

So now, Gandhi-Rue has added a third class to accommodate the demand from people hoping to learn how to best utilize their new time-saving appliances.

“We posted it, and it was amazing because my phone blew up through the night,” she said. “That next morning, I started taking reservations at 9 a.m., and by noon, we’d filled the first class.”

Gandhi-Rue has planned out a whole list of classes, which will happen on Sunday afternoons at her restaurant. Other options include a French Bistro cooking class on Jan. 28 and a homemade pasta workshop on Feb. 11.

But because of demand, the rest of her classes so far are all about the Instant Pot, a trendy appliance that allows home cooks to prepare meals much more quickly.

Gandhi-Rue, who in a previous job organized cooking demonstrations across the nation for Williams-Sonoma, said she has used pressure cookers for years and that all the new electric versions are basically the same. People who have a different brand than Instant Pot will get just as much out of the class.

“We’re going to cover everything from how to set it up to taking all the fear out of it to natural release vs. quick release,” she said.

Most of her classes will be demonstration only, except for the pasta workshop, which will be hands on. But all the classes will allow students to dine on the finished product.

At the Instant Pot 101 classes, happening on Jan 14, 21 and Feb. 18, Gandhi-Rue will demonstrate a French-style beef stew, rice pudding, spaghetti squash and more. The only 101 class that still has openings is on Feb. 18.

She’s also offering a Feb. 25 class that will show people how to make a three-course meal in their Instant Pots.

The classes are $45 apiece and include food samples. To enroll, stop into The Kitchen or call 316-928-2899. To see a full listing of cooking classes, visit The Kitchen’s Facebook page.

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